In the Queen City of the South, A Sea of Santo Niño de Cebú Devotees


Choose Philippines
Choose Philippines | Jan 23, 2020

Story and photos by Joworski Alipon

When there are about two million people gather in a common venue, you know that there is something big happening in the area. Every 3rd Sunday of January, the Queen City of the South plays host to spectators and churchgoers convening for the annual Sinulog celebration, filling the uptown and downtown areas at the heart of Cebu City.

For Sinulog 2020, religious activities included: foot processions such as Walk with Jesus and Walk with Mary, the Traslacion or the transfer of the images of the Virgin Mary, her son the Child Jesus to the Shrine of Saint Joseph the Worker in Mandaue City, the Fluvial procession, and a solemn procession that took place a day before the main festival.

[related: Flower Power: 5 Must-Visit Flower Spots in Cebu]

The Sinulog Foundation Incorporated (SFI) decided to dedicate a six-kilometer carousel route to give an equal opportunity for the 23 participating contingents to showcase their creativity in the street dancing. Initially, ten out-of-town contingents manifested their commitment to join but due to lack of time for preparations, some decided to back out. Other Mindanao contingents had to recover from the devastating series of earthquakes.

In the end, most of the seven out-of-town contingents hailed from the Negros Island; San Carlos City, Bacolod City and La Castellana in Negros Occidental, and the town of Sta. Catalina in Negros Oriental. The Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe representing Tangub City, Misamis Occidental were the only contingent from Mindanao. Their efforts were not in vain. They bagged the top prize for the Sinulog-based category, their 12th championship to date, a sweet comeback after a two-year hiatus. This year's Sinulog also marked the second consecutive year for a guest contingent from South Korea to share their culture during the parade.

[related: 5 Must-visit Waterparks in Cebu to Enjoy Your Weekend]

According to the organizers of the festival, next year's Sinulog is slated to be bigger, as this will commemorate the 500-year anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the country. This early, the Archdiocese of Cebu in coordination with the Basilica friars are getting ready for the momentous event. The Jubilee Cross or the replica of the Magellan's cross and the pilgrim image of Sr. Sto. Niño have been going around parishes for the faithful’s veneration. This will also form part of the Church’s evangelization efforts.

For more Sinulog festivities, watch the Choose Philippines Sinulog coverage here!

ALSO READ: The Philippines to Highlight 500 Years Compassion and Victory in 2021

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